Past eventPast eventInvitation OnlyResearch Event

The Eritrean National Service: Fostering or Failing Unity?

Chatham House, London


Professor Gaim Kibreab, Research Professor and Course Director, MSc Refugee Studies, London South Bank University; Author, The Eritrean National Service: Servitude for “the common good” and the Youth Exodus
Dr Jonathan Fisher, Senior Lecturer in African Politics, International Development Department and Academic Director of the Governance and Social Development Resource Centre (GSDRC), University of Birmingham 


The Eritrean National Service (ENS) lies at the core of the post-independence state, supplying its military and affecting every aspect of Eritrea’s economy, social services, public sector and politics. The ENS was founded on the core values of 'common good' developed through the thirty-year liberation struggle, which promoted national unity, nation building, post-conflict (re)-construction and secular and common national identity. However, national service became indefinite in 2002 and thousands of the country's young people have sought to escape it by seeking employment and asylum elsewhere.

At this event, which will launch Professor Gaim Kibreab’s book The Eritrean National Service: Servitude for “the common good” and the Youth Exodus, published by Boydell & Brewer, speakers will assess the ENS's achievements, failures and impact on Eritrea’s society and economy, as well as discuss the reasons behind the ongoing and indefinite ENS. 

Attendance at this event is by invitation only.